England chief Southgate had stated he only wanted players “who are desperate to play for England” and claimed there was “this disappearing egg timer on him going towards the Ivory Coast”.
Mills, meanwhile, a former Three Lions international, was a lot more bullish about the 24-year-old's choice to reprsent the Ivory Coast on Tuesday, claiming Zaha - who won two England in friendlies amongst 2012 and 2013 - had taken “the less difficult option”.
Zaha was born in Abidjan in 1992 and moved to England with his family aged 4.
Hence, the Crystal Palace winger decided to release an official statement through his management group, Active Sports Management, who confirmed he had already produced his choice to play for Ivory Coast ahead of Southgate took charge.
The statement said: “In light of recent comments and reports questioning Wilfried’s desire or passion to play for England [we] feel it’s important to set the record straight.
“Wilfried did not impose a timescale or set a date by which he had to become selected by England, there was no ‘disappearing egg timer’. The ‘private’ meeting with Mr Southgate was incredibly amicable.
“However, the reality remains that Wilfried created his decision to play for the Ivory Coast prior to Mr Southgate becoming appointed interim and subsequently permanent England manager.
“It was Wilfried’s personal option and it was his right as a senior player to accept the opportunity to represent his nation of birth and that of his household heritage.
“His ‘desire’ or ‘passion’ need to in no way happen to be publicly questioned for making that decision.
“Wilfried is quite proud of his household and extremely proud to represent the Ivory Coast, most lately demonstrated by his performance against Russia.”
It most definitely was - just verify out his purpose!